Category: Motorsport

New DTM Trophy Series heats up the DTM in 2020

The DTM in 2020 will get a new series to create more excitement for German Touring Cars followers.

So what is the DTM Trophy? The DTM Trophy is similar to a support race featuring  start- and track-times. It compliments the main DTM event where the participating brands compete with each other with two bouts of sprint races, without driver changes, through Saturday and Sunday.

The DTM Trophy, which features near-series spec GT racing cars with rear-wheel drive, will run across six weekends, alongside the main event. As in DTM, the DTM Trophy has two free-practice sessions per race weekend on Fridays, and a 20-minute qualifying session and 30-minute race each on Saturdays and Sundays. The series is set to kick off in Zolder, Belgium on 24 – 26 April. Prize money for the support series comprises 150,000 euros  between the top three drivers: the winner receives 75,000 euros, second place 50,000 and 25,000 for third.

First to sign up for the DTM Trophy is Team GT, featuring two McLaren 570s and a pair of young pilots. Team GT is based in Munich

Before the series kicks into high gear, DTM promoters are already pursuing more competitors to partake in the new series. Registration deadline is 11 March, with an enrolment fee of 23,000 euros per participant, with tyres and fuel free of charge at all official events. This not only applies to all race weekends in the support program of the DTM in 2020, but also a potential ITR-organized pre-season test.

DTM Trophy regulations

Drivers and teams with near-series-spec GT cars eligible for FIA categories E2-SH and E2-SC of all manufacturers are entitled to participate. Almost every brand represented in motorsport has a corresponding GT car with 400 to 500 hp in its portfolio.

In its debut season, the DTM Trophy is scheduled to run across six DTM race weekends:

2020 DTM/DTM Trophy calendar

  1. Zolder 24-26 April
  2. Lausitzring 15-17 May
  3. Anderstorp 12-14 June
  4. Norisring 10-12 July
  5. Nürburgring 11-13 September
  6. Hockenheimring 2-4 October

F1 Vietnam Grand Prix has an official emblem

Formula 1 2020 Calendar

Formula 1 is getting set to descend on the South East Asian country of Vietnam in 2020. Vietnam becomes only the third country in this minor Asian region to host an F1 race after Malaysia and Singapore. The promoters, Vietnam Grand Prix Corporation, today announced official logo and the track’s grandstands’ titles for the upcoming race to be held from 3 – 5 April.

The Vietnamese GP takes place on the Hanoi Circuit. The track grandstands take up the country’s most famous and important landmarks, major cities and provinces. Hanoi circuit features 23 turns and a distance of 5,607 km. With a combination of high speed and slow corners, the track has a good blend of street and regular circuit configuration. There are as many as three overtaking points.

Here’s a breakdown of the Grandstands at F1’s newest track:  

•      Thăng Long Grandstand – Located along the Starting Grid, this stand takes its title from Hanoi’s traditional name – meaning a rising dragon – and symbolizes the constant growth and development of the city.

•      Hải Phòng Grandstand – positioned by Turn 1, this is named after the major port city that also functions as an industrial centre and the largest seaport in the North of Vietnam. This is also the third largest city in the country, the second in the North and one of the five municipalities.

•      Hạ Long Grandstand – Positioned at the winding arc that makes up Turns 2-4, this Grandstand is named after Ha Long Bay, the world-famous UNESCO World Natural Heritage, considered to be one of the most beautiful natural settings on the planet and also renowned as the mythical home of dragons.

•      Huế Matrix One Grandstand – This Grandstand is situated at the tricky Turn 7-8 sequence and is named after the central Vietnamese city – another UNESCO Heritage Centre – that was the seat of Nguyen Dynasty emperors and the national capital from 1802 to 1945. The Hue Matrix One Grandstand is sponsored by MIK Group.

•      Đà Nẵng Grandstand – this stand is located just past Turn 10 and is named after Vietnam’s fourth largest city, the key economic region of the Central area of Vietnam, famous for its white sand beaches, Ba Na Mountain, Son Tra peninsula & Marble Mountain….

•      Nha Trang Grandstand – Set just before Turn 11, this is named after the famous coastal resort city in southern Vietnam famed for its beaches, diving sites and offshore islands in Nha Trang Bay, commonly referred to as ‘The Pearl of the East Sea” and one of Vietnam’s most popular tourist destinations.

•      Sài Gòn Grandstand – Situated at Turn 12, this is named after Vietnam’s largest city’s former name. One of the most important economic, cultural, political and educational centers of Vietnam, it is famous for its Ben Thanh market as well as the stunning Nguyen Hue street, Independence Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral and most recently the Landmark 81 building – tallest in Southeast Asia.

•      Cần Thơ Grandstand – found by Turn 13, this Grandstand takes its name from the bustling city in southern Vietnam’s Mekong Delta region, celebrated for its canal network, nearby floating markets and fruitful orchards.

•      Phú Quốc Grandstand – located by turn 22-23, this grandstand is named after the largest island in Vietnam also known as Jade Island due to its picturesque beaches and magnificent landscapes such as the Phu Quoc National Park, An Thoi archipelago, Van Ninh fishing village and the Vinpearl Safari Phu Quoc (the first and largest semi-wild zoo in Vietnam).

 For the inaugural Vietnam GP, tickets are already on sale. If you haven’t gotten your tickets, you might want to check out www.f1vietnamgp.com or call the hotline: at 1900 232428 or 0915 73 44 66

2020 Formula 1 Calendar

This season’s Formula 1 calendar features 22 races around the world. Vietnam is listed third on the calendar after the Australian and Bahrain Grands Prix.

115 MARAUSTRALIAMelbourne
222 MARBAHRAINSakhir
35 APRVIETNAMHanoi
419 APRCHINAShanghai
53 MAYNETHERLANDSZandvoort
610 MAYSPAINBarcelona
724 MAYMONACOMonte Carlo
87 JUNAZERBAIJANBaku
914 JUNCANADAMontreal
1028 JUNFRANCELe Castellet
115 JULAUSTRIASpielberg
1219 JULGREAT BRITAINSilverstone
132 AUGHUNGARYBudapest
1430 AUGBELGIUMSpa-Francorchamps
156 SEPITALYMonza
1620 SEPSINGAPORESingapore
1727 SEPRUSSIASochi
1811 OCTJAPANSuzuka
1925 OCTUNITED STATESAustin
201 NOVMEXICO CITYMexico City
2115 NOVBRAZILSao Paulo
2229 NOVABU DHABIYas Island

Proton conquers Sepang 1K race; All-ladies team led by Leona Chin finished seventh

Braving torrential thunderstorms over the weekend, the aspiring local racers took part in another rendition of the Sepang 1000 kilometers race or short for Sepang 1k. As a feeder endurance racing competition to the previous Merdeka Millennium Endurance race (MME), the 1k race saw more participants due to relatively affordable entry fees.

National carmakers Proton has always been participating in domestic racing series to prove their cars’ worth. And since the 1k race features mostly local-ran feeder teams and drivers, there aren’t too much competition for Proton as a factory-backed squad. This proved especially evident in last Sunday’s 1k race where Team Proton R3 dominated the entire race for the third consecutive year. It was a fifth outright title for Proton, since the 1k race came into existence.

The brave souls who participated in the 1k race last weekend had to endure 181 laps. It ended with the Iriz of Fariqe Hairuman, former BTCC driver, and Mitchell Cheah winning the title, after 9 hours of non-stop racing. To add icing on the cake, the Sage of Admi Shahirul and Syafiq Ali took second place to complete a 1-2 finish. With the 1-2 finish, it’s obvious that until another factory-backed team came into the picture, the 1k race would be a continuous happy hunting ground for the National carmakers.

Nominated lady race drivers were also cast in to drive for Proton, this time around. The all-girl team was selected from the recent Lady Drivers Search program, featuring Malaysia’s Motorsport Athlete, Leona Chin. The girls’ team in the third Proton car comprised of Leona, Nurul Husna and Faye Kusairi. However, a technical issue during qualifying set their Saga car as a 26th starter on the grid. Despite the setback, the ladies showed amazing tenacity against the men and fighting spirit as they carved their way up to seventh overall and first among all lady drivers by the end of the race. Leona as the leader did her part to ensure a strong overall finish for Proton’s all-ladies squad.

‘Dream Race’ showdown at Fuji between the DTM and Super GT

Following the recent DTMxSuperGT exhibition at Hockenheim, the stage is set for the Dream Raceat the Fuji Speedway, from 23 – 24 November.

This weekend, the first ever DTM x Super GT showdown features 22 cars from Audi, BMW, Honda, Lexus, Nissan and more. The two races on Saturday and Sunday have new rules such as rolling starts, control tyres and cars run without DRS and P2P. The duration of each race will be 55 minutes.

The Dream Race became a reality when DTM organizers and Super GT authorities began working on an adjustment of their technical regulations to enable joint races and a kind of “Champions League”of touring car racing. This endeavor has resulted in the spectacular Class 1 race cars with their more than 610-hp four-cylinder turbo engines that already began to be used in the DTM in the 2019 season. In the Super GT, the Class 1 regulations will come into effect next year.

The scene is Fuji Speedway, a familiar circuit for those who are Gran Turismo fans. Fuji features long-radius corners and an impressive 1.5km straight. For the races, DTM drivers will race two sessions without driver change, while the Super GT counterparts get driver changes; with the exception of Honda’s Naoki Yamamoto, who is the sole driver minus his partner Jenson Button.

Hockenheim, Germany: DTM Hockenheimring,

The DTM x Super GT Dream Race’s 22 car grid comprises seven-man DTM squad and 15 from the Japanese squads. DTM drivers consist the likes of Loïc Duval, Kamui Kobayashi, René Rast, Mike Rockenfeller, Benoît Tréluyer, Marco Wittmann and Alex Zanardi. Super GT boasts newly crowned Champion Kazuya Oshima, Kenta Yamashita, Ronnie Quintarelli, Naoki Yamamoto, Tsugio Matsuda, Ryō Hirakawa and Nick Cassidy.

DTM Champions prepare to prove a point

Audi squads are the Reigning DTM Champion and for this Dream Race showdown, Audi squads have deployed four RS 5 DTM cars. Alongside the Audi RS 5s are three BMW M4 DTMs. Audi is already familiar with from events with the Audi R18 in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) and with the Audi R8 LMS. According to computer simulations, the Audi RS 5 DTM will reach a speed of up to 300 km/h at the end of the straight, depending on the rear wing setting.

The four Audi RS 5 DTM cars have new liveries for the dream race, including 2013 DTM champion Mike Rockenfeller’s Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline car with black Akrapovič, Reigning champion René Rast’s Audi Sport RS 5 DTM (Team Rosberg) with a Red dot on white bodywork, Loic Duval’s car is decked with a red BMC Airfilter and Benoît Tréluyer’s car is mainly white.

The dream race gets on the way on Thursday with two 45-minute test sessions. Two free practice sessions on Friday, followed by a qualifying session and a race on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

Marquez ends season on a high note at Valencia

Repsol Honda captures Triple Crown

The big news prior to the season’s finale, 5-time Champion Jorge Lorenzo announced his retirement after an under-performing season with the Repsol Honda squad. But, it wasn’t all gloom as he assisted the team to a triple crown in the season’s final race. Reigning Champion Marc Marquez did what he does best, win races. For Marquez, it was his 12th win this season.

At race start, Fabio Quartararo on pole led the race in the early stint, The Yamaha satellite rider didn’t pull too far ahead with Marquez closing up fast. The champion was already in second place by the third lap. He then cut the gap from almost a second to just two tenths in five laps. Striking at Turn 11, Marquez only needed one chance to move to the front and quickly amassed an insurmountable lead. He sailed through in the final laps with Quantararo and Jack Millter behind. Andrea Dovizioso, Alex Rins and Maverick Vinales were the other factory riders who made an impact in the race, with fourth, fifth and sixth places.

With the 12 wins in 2019, Marquez has accumulated 420 points and becomes the first rider in history to score more than 400 points in a single season. For the team, they got the Triple Crown after winning the Riders, Teams and Constructors titles. This is the Repsol Honda’s ninth Triple Crown since the MotoGP class began in 2002, cementing them the most dominant team and constructor in the premier class. For the first time in the four-stroke era, the team has managed to take three Triple Crowns in a row.

Lorenzo is retired from MotoP after 297 Grand Prix starts, including this season’s finale where he ended up 13th. The five-time champion’s final career total shows: 68 wins, 152 podiums and 69 poles,

Ducati was the second best team in 2019 as they finished the season in the teams classification second and third in the constructors. Dovizioso took fourth in the finale, while Danilo Petrucci crashed out.

Viñales and Valentino Rossi struggled through the final race with rear grip issues. They finished sixth and eighth respectively. Vinales was third in the riders standings and Yamaha MotoGP ended up third in the teams category. Yamaha was the second best constructors thanks to the combined efforts of the factory and the SRT teams.

Riders are expected to hit the track at Valencia tomorrow for the first test of 2020 before moving to Jerez a few days later.

2019 MotoGP Race of Valencia results

1         MARQUEZ Marc        Repsol Honda 41’21.469

2         QUARTARARO Fabio        Yamaha SRT     1.026

3         MILLER Jack Pramac R 2.409

4         DOVIZIOSO Andrea          Ducati 3.326

5         RINS Alex    Suzuki           3.508

6         VINALES Maverick  Yamaha 8.829

7         MIR Joan     Suzuki           10.622

8         ROSSI Valentino   Yamaha        22.992

9         ESPARGARO Aleix       Aprilia 32.704

10       ESPARGARO Pol     KTM   32.973

Final Riders standings

1         MARQUEZ Marc      420      

2         DOVIZIOSO Andrea       269      

3         VINALES Maverick   211  

4         RINS Alex      205    

5         QUARTARARO Fabio        192  

6         PETRUCCI Danilo    176     

7         ROSSI Valentino     174         

8         MILLER Jack 165   

10       MORBIDELLI Franco        115

Final Teams standings

1         Repsol Honda Team          420

2         Ducati Team 400

3         Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP          385

4         Petronas Yamaha SRT      307

5         Team Suzuki Ecstar 212

6         EG 0.0 Marc VDS    167

7         Pramac Racing        136

8         CWM LCR Honda   133

9         Aprilia Racing Team Gresini         114

10       Red Bull KTM Factory Racing      100

Constructors rankings

1         Honda 436

2         Yamaha        321

3         Ducati 309

4         Suzuki          234

5         KTM   111

6         Aprilia 89

7         Kawasaki      7

DTM fast forwarding towards the future

DTM (Deutschen Tourenwagen Masters) or the German Touring Series is fast forwarding to the future with a conceptualization of touring cars powered by battery or hydrogen fuel cell technology.

As the world embraces plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles, every major motorsports series and teams are switching to variations of hybrids for sustainability and relevancy. EV race cars are only a matter of time. Therefore, the DTM organizers turned its focus towards creating a visionary new electric-drive series, which could run alongside DTM, providing manufacturers with an unprecedented opportunity to design and develop its own high-performance electric vehicles of the future.

In 2019, the DTM introduced efficient, high-performance four-cylinder turbo engines capable of 600bhp. This season’s regulations also saw the use of environment-friendly fuel. By 2022, the DTM is looking at including cars with hybrid technology.

An EV Touring cars series?


The new concept series sees the supply of energy from two different sources: regular battery or fuel cell technology. For pit stops, the use of robotics to replace tyres and battery pack under the car would be used. Over the course of a 40-minute race, each car would require a mandatory stop for fresh power. These futuristic race cars would be capable of power outputs exceeding 1000bhp for brief periods of time, and of achieving top speeds in excess of 300km/h.


Currently, there are three manufacturers in the DTM with the departure of Mercedes-Benz prior to the start of the 2019 season. Audi won the titles outright, finishing tops from BMW and Aston Martin.  


The spectacular DTM

For 35 years, the DTM has thrilled millions of fans across the world, and has become Europe’s premium Touring Car series, developing the touring car template to its most extreme. Today’s cars are far from production-spec, constructed from carbon-fiber, equipped with state-of-the-art aerodynamics and fitted with powerful 600bhp turbo-charged engines.

Attract more manufacturers


By implementing a new EV/hydrogen fuel cell series, the organizers hope to attract more manufacturers into the fold. The series allows them to enter cars that resemble their road-going models, an option that current all-electric race series doesn’t currently permit. This could be an excellent test bed for car makers.

In order to set this through, the organizers see three primary factors as key pillars: Technical feasibility, Financial viability, and fan, manufacturer and sponsor interest.

Audi Sport ready for New Formula E Season

With the Formula E season starting 22 November, Audi Sport has arrived early at Riyadh in preparation for the season-opener. This season’s Formula E is expected to be more exciting than ever with new teams and contenders in the mix. There are 12 teams vying for the Formula E crown this season.

The team shipped ten containers to Saudi Arabia, that’s a total of some ten tons of cargo. Logistics expert DHL picked up the crates at the team’s base in Kempten and hauled them to the Stuttgart airport, from where they flew directly to Saudi Arabia’s capital city Riyadh. The cargos will be delivered to the pitlanes at the track and only on 19 November, the teams are allowed to open the cargo boxes.

Audi Sport team are in pursuit of the title with Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi, Abt and di Grassi have carefully packed their travel bags and handed them over to the team. The contents of each driver’s bags: two racing suits, two pairs of gloves, two pairs of shoes, three sets of fireproof underwear, team wear, plus the individually adjusted earphone systems for radio communications during the races are all part of the standard gear. In addition, Abt’s luggage contains a can of hairspray, while di Grassi takes along a skipping rope for pre-race concentration exercises.

Audi e-tron FE06 #11 (Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler), Lucas di Grassi

With the things already set in motion, Audi Sport is looking to make their mark on the 2019/20 Formula E season. The two rounds in Riyadh  will be races number 59 and 60 in  Formula E. Audi Sport is the only team to have contested all of them with the same driver pairing, and with a track record of 12 race wins and 40 podium finishes as well as one drivers’ and one teams’ title, is the most successful team in Formula E.

Vinales wins Meaning-less Malaysian Grand Prix

The penultimate round this year’s MotoGP race fell to the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang.  This time around, at least someone other than newly crowned Champion Marc Marquez was able to win the race, although a rather meaning-less one. Factory Yamaha squad’s Maverick Vinales turned up the juice to beat Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso. Dovizioso’s podium finish did Shell some justice as they were the event and the team title sponsors. Fan favorite Valentino Rossi managed fourth, edging out Suzuki’s Alex Rins.

Shell held plenty of off-track activities to get people to go watch the race live and it apparently worked. Furthermore, tickets were relatively cheap by International Grand Prix standards to watch the world’s premier two-wheel race. The fans got their money’s worth as MotoGP is the most exciting race to watch and it doesn’t go on forever, with so many unnecessary interruptions.

The race started at high noon, as always Marquez was lightning quick off the line and grabbed six positions in the first two corners. Vinales led  Jack Miller in the first lap, with Marquez trailing close in third. With nine places gained, the reigning champion settled in behind Miller for a short while. After muscling past the Australian, Marquez began to work on closing the 1.6 second gap to Viñales.

The race quickly settled as Marquez eased up and allowed Vinales to maintain his lead. He rather finished in the points and prevented from ending up in the dirt. Dovizioso had dispatched Miller to get up to third place. Miller then had to confront Valentino Rossi who was blazing up behind him. The Doctor took his time and dispatched Miller in Turn 9 for fourth, with seven laps to go. Rossi next went after Dovizioso, but the Yamaha proved not as effective as the Ducati. He would settle in and defended his place from Rins. The order would finish with Vinales the winner, Marquez, Dovizioso, Rossi and Rins.


For Marquez, the result in Malaysia him the honor of being the first rider in history to score 17 MotoGP class podium finishes in a single season, extending his unbroken run of top-two finishes to 15. Marquez’s last finish outside of the top two came at the Czech GP in 2018 when he was third.

The teams now get a week’s rest after three consecutive GPs, before they return to action in Valencia for the finale, 14 – 17 November.

2019 MotoGP Malaysian GP Sepang results

1          Maverick Viñales        Yamaha           ESP            40’14.632

2          Marc Marquez Honda ESP     00’03.059

3          Andrea Dovizioso       Ducati ITA     00’05.611

4          Valentino Rossi          Yamaha           ITA            00’05.965

5          Alex Rins        Suzuki ESP     00’06.350

6          Franco Morbidelli       Yamaha           ITA            00’09.993

7          Fabio Quartararo         Yamaha           FRA            00’12.864

8          Jack Miller      Honda AUS    00’17.252

9          Danilo Petrucci           Ducati ITA     00’19.773

10        Joan Mir          Suzuki ESP     00’22.854

Riders standings

1          Marc Marquez Honda ESP     395

2          Andrea Dovizioso       Ducati ITA     256

3          Maverick Viñales        Yamaha           ESP     201

4          Alex Rins        Suzuki ESP     194

5          Danilo Petrucci           Ducati ITA     176

6          Fabio Quartararo         Yamaha           FRA    172

7          Valentino Rossi          Yamaha           ITA     166

8          Jack Miller      Honda AUS    149

9          Cal Crutchlow Honda GBR    133

10        Franco Morbidelli       Yamaha           ITA     115

MotoGP Malaysian Grand Prix preview

With the Riders’ crown already in Marc Marquez’s hands, the penultimate round of MotoGP, the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang Circuit, isn’t going to count for much except for Marquez’s team Repsol Honda trying to seal the Teams’ honors before the finale in Valencia, Spain. In the teams’ standings, Repsol Honda and Ducati are almost neck-to-neck with 408 and 409 points, respectively.

Marquez is looking for a personal best as he guns after a sixth straight Grand Prix victory this season and third at this very track. Meantime, Marquez hunts for more points to dethrone his team mate Jorge Lorenzo for most points scored in a single season. Lorenzo holds the record with 383 points and Marquez so far has 375 points.

Lorenzo  has been on the podium seven times at Sepang, but this time around it’s going to be difficult for him to beat the likes of the factory and Satellite Yamahas and Ducatis. He’ll try, nonetheless.

Ducati riders Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci were in town to meet and greet the media at Shell KLIA station, a precursor event by Shell Malaysia. Dovizioso even presented awards to bike mechanics, who are representing their teams at the 2019 Shell Advance Global Masterclass Competition.

Ducati squad have five wins at Sepang in the past: Capirossi in 2005, Stoner in 2007 and 2009 and Dovizioso in 2016 and 2017. Sepang is also the track where Dovizioso obtained his first win with Ducati in the premier class in 2016.  Petrucci instead scored his best result in Malaysia on the Pramac Racing Team Desmosedici GP, when he finished in sixth place in 2015 and 2017. However, he might not be a 100 percent due to  a crash at Phillip Island which sprained his ankle. Regardless, Dovizioso holds second in the riders standings and Petrucci is fifth, just  7 points adrift of Maveritck Viñales and 14 from Suzuki’s Álex Rins in third.

Fan favorite Valentino Rossi isn’t doing too well this season, but fans here couldn’t care less. He practically has a legion of fans at Sepang. a circuit where he shone many times before. He was looking strong in the fight for the win last year when a crash cut his challenge short. Despite the 2018 mishap, the Doctor’s list of premier class successes in Sepang is impressive. He delighted the fans by snatching victories there in 2001, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010, he secured second places 2002, 2005, 2014, and 2016, and took third places in 2009 and 2015. This weekend he hopes to add another positive result to the list in order to move up from seventh place in the championship standings.

 Vinales is determined to fight at the front again this weekend. The Spaniard climbed onto the Malaysian podium on two occasions in previous years, securing a 125cc win in 2011 and first place in the Moto2 race in 2014. He is yet to claim a premier class MotoGP prize there. Last year he took fourth, his best premier class placement at this track thus far. Viñales currently holds fourth position in the overall rankings, seven points behind the rider in third position.

As usual. practice runs today, then the final practice and qualifying on Saturday. The 20-lap Malaysian GP is scheduled for 3p Local Time on Sunday.

How Ott Tanak defied all odds to snatch his first ever WRC title?

At the start of the 2019 WRC (World Rally Championship) season, nobody would have ever predicted that Ott Tanak would be the WRC Champion against the likes of top rally guys like multiple champion and very competent contenders; names like Sebastien Ogier, Jari-Matti Latvala and Thierry Neuville.

In the second to last rally event of the year, the Rally Spain was the scene for the battle royale between Neuville and Tanak for the Drivers’ crown. Tanak has been consistent all season long, while Neuville, though pulled off several amazing performances, isn’t as persistent as his Estonian rival. Going into the penultimate round, Tanak had a 28-point lead over perennial WRC champion Ogier and a further 13 points laid JM Latvala. These men were the ones with a shot at the title. Ogier knows how to win as he has done it six times, but does the odds favor him this time around?

The other title, the manufacturer, is to be decided at the Rally Spain between Toyota and. Hyundai, who are just 8 points apart.

The stage was set for the Rally Spain last weekend and it began with 9-time champion Sebastien Loeb burning the tracks to lead all drivers. Loeb showed everybody who’s boss but it wouldn’t be his day, eventually. Loeb, representing Hyundai WRT, led Neuville and Dani Sordo to a 1-2-3 finish in the first leg. Tanak struggled to a fifth place finish behind Citroen’s Kris Meeke. Meantime, Ogier’s race was ruined by a leakage which caused a power steering failure. The 6-time WRC champion  had to send in the car for repairs, which put him 17th by the end of the first leg.  Heading into the second leg, the top five were Loeb, Neuville, Sordo, Meeke and Tanak.

Leg 2 saw plenty of action as Loeb faded into background. That gave Neuville an opportunity to jump into the lead early and the Belgian kept it until the end of the leg. He led home his team mate but Tanak made progress as well, going from fifth to third by the end of day two. Loeb ended his day two run in fourth, ahead of Latvala. Day three was about to unfold with either Tanak taking his first ever title or the title fight moving up to the finale in Australia.

Tanak commented after the second leg, “I wasn’t feeling too relaxed but now I’ve been able to learn a bit and get into a rhythm. We would like to keep the pressure, but to take the time back will be difficult.”

All eyes were set for day three where the battle royale would take place. Tanak needed a second place to seal his maiden title, would he get it? The Hyundai drivers won’t just hand him the title. Neuville was rather unstoppable since day two as he continued to pound the tarmac to increase his lead. The order maintained going into the bonus run or Power Stage.

The power stage was the key moment for Tanak as he swept past Sordo to go 2nd overall. He would finish 17.2 seconds behind Neuville which was enough to put his hands on the crown. Sordo was third, followed by Loeb and Latvala.

In post-rally a jubilant Tanak said, “It’s difficult to say the pressure I felt this weekend – it was next level. To manage all this and get through it has been the target of my life. When you are on the verge of this you cannot imagine it, I just had to make it happen.”

Tanak’s win ended the 15-year  Frenchmen’s domination of the WRC by Loeb and Ogier. He becomes the first Toyota driver to win a title since Didier Auriol in 1994, as well as the first Estonian with a World Rally crown.

Neuville’s third victory of the season came down to only the manufacturers’ title to play for, as Hyundai grabbed an 18-point lead from Toyota, going into the season finale at the Rally Australia 14 – 17 November.

2019 WRC Rally Spain results

1. T Neuville / N Gilsoul BEL Hyundai i20 3hr 07min 39.6sec
2. O Tänak / M Järveoja EST Toyota Yaris +17.2sec
3. D Sordo / C del Barrio ESP Hyundai i20 +17.6sec
4. S Loeb / D Elena FRA Hyundai i20 +53.9sec
5. J-M Latvala / M Anttila FIN Toyota Yaris +1min 00.2sec

Drivers standings

1. O Tänak 263pts (new champion)
2. T Neuville 227
3. S Ogier 217